Environ Health Perspect. 2021 Oct;129(10):107004. doi: 10.1289/EHP9091. Epub 2021 Oct 12.


BACKGROUND: Prenatal exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has been previously associated with preeclampsia, although findings are mixed with respect to the direction and magnitude of effect. To our knowledge, no studies have examined associations between PFAS and preeclampsia subtypes, which may have distinct etiologies.

OBJECTIVE: We examined associations between PFAS, any preeclampsia diagnosis, and early- and late-onset preeclampsia. In addition, we estimated associations between PFAS and the angiogenic biomarkers soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFLT-1) and placental growth factor (PlGF), which provide an estimate of pro- and anti-angiogenic activity within the placenta.

METHODS: This case-control study (n=75 cases, n=75 controls) was sampled from the LIFECODES birth cohort. Nine legacy PFAS were quantified in maternal plasma from early pregnancy (median= 10 wk) and angiogenic biomarkers were quantified in maternal plasma from four study visits (median= 10, 18, 26, and 35 wk). Logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of the association between an interquartile range (IQR)-increase in PFAS and preeclampsia outcomes. Linear regression was used to estimate associations between an IQR-increase in PFAS and concentrations of angiogenic biomarkers.

RESULTS: Both perfluorodecanoic acid (OR= 1.64, 95% CI: 1.08, 2.47) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (OR= 1.60, 95% CI: 1.06, 2.43) were associated with higher odds of late-onset preeclampsia. Associations tended to be below the null for early-onset preeclampsia, although findings were imprecise. Few associations were noted between PFAS and angiogenic biomarkers.

DISCUSSION: Maternal PFAS concentrations were associated with higher odds of late-onset preeclampsia. Heterogeneity of preeclampsia should be considered in future studies because populations may have different distributions of disease subtypes. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP9091.

PMID:34637358 | PMC:PMC8509361 | DOI:10.1289/EHP9091